Mac Connolly, Tiffany Jenkins, Nick Reasner, Yucca Reinecke, and Matthew Schmidt contributed to this article.
The COVID-19 pandemic spurred a wave of digital acceleration, drove a rapid shift to remote work, and underscored the critical nature of business continuity and resilience. As companies continue marching toward a new version of normal, technology leaders find themselves balancing a mandate to drive digital transformation efforts forward while enabling teams to thrive in a new world of work.
In the coming weeks, Metis Strategy will share its perspectives on five areas where CIOs are focused in the new year. Building on conversations with hundreds of technology executives in recent months, this series will highlight strategies and tactics to help organizations win during times of uncertainty and emerge from the crisis stronger than before.
- Maintaining the momentum of pandemic-driven digital acceleration
- Ensuring a safe and effective return to the office and an increasingly hybrid workforce
- Managing the continued shift to cloud technologies
- Crafting an enterprise-wide data and analytics strategy
- Protecting organizations amid an increasingly complex cybersecurity landscape
Sustaining digital acceleration
COVID-19 will go down in history as a great digital catalyst. More than 70% of attendees at the Metis Strategy Digital Symposium noted that their digital transformation efforts accelerated as a result of the pandemic, with 42% noting a significant acceleration. Crisis response generated a boost in productivity and innovation at many firms as they experimented with new business models and transitioned to remote work forces. As we look to the year ahead, companies are figuring out how to sustain those efforts while navigating an uncertain economic landscape and adapting to new ways of working.
This article will explore examples of pandemic-driven digital acceleration and discuss the ways in which firms that maintain investment in digital capabilities can emerge from the crisis in a position of strength.
Scaling data and analytics capabilities across the enterprise
In recent months, firms have expressed growing demand for a strategy that guides management and structure of data at enterprise scale. At Metis Strategy’s October conference, 25% of attendees said they were implementing a version of their data strategy, while 64% noted they were developing a strategy. Many executives we speak with say they are working to move beyond traditional descriptive analytics and toward predictive or cognitive capabilities that can further optimize decision making and automate business processes.
Getting to that stage requires a holistic view that ties data to business strategy, and requires a number of changes that impact people, processes, and technologies inside an organization. This article will explore how to assess your company’s data maturity and readiness to manage data and metadata at scale, and share critical first steps to crafting an effective data strategy.
Accelerating the shift to cloud
Many companies have long been on a journey to the cloud, but the pandemic has sped up the process significantly. A major driver of cloud adoption is increased agility, which allows firms to pivot and respond quickly in the face of tremendous change, a critical asset as firms navigate the pandemic and improve their competitive positioning. Indeed, some companies now are embracing a cloud-first mentality to better compete with cloud-native firms. Research firm IDC also identified the shift to the cloud as the number one technology trend for 2021, noting that by the end of 2021, “80% of enterprises will put a mechanism in place to shift to cloud-centric infrastructure and applications twice as fast as before the pandemic.”
Yet for all the benefits cloud can provide, the journey is not a simple one and it continues to grow in complexity. This article will explore the primary benefits and key risks posed by cloud and discuss best practices for driving enterprise adoption.
Managing a safe return to the office while learning to work as ‘hybrid’ teams
Prior to the pandemic, the phrase “hybrid workforce” usually referred to companies with a handful of fully-remote employees and a somewhat flexible work from home policy. Now that roughly 40% of the working population has been working remotely full time, however, that definition has changed. Even after a vaccine is released and widely distributed, the world of work will not look the same as it did in February 2020. A Gartner survey finds that 82% of company leaders will allow their workforce to work remotely at least some of the time as employees return to the workplace, with 47% reporting that they would let employees work remotely full-time. Furthermore, employees say they want more flexibility in the post-pandemic working world.
This article will discuss specific steps companies can take to create outstanding employee experiences and sustain employee engagement in a new world of work. It will also explore the new tools and technologies that will enable teams to collaborate effectively in a hybrid environment and share key considerations for CIOs implementing these technologies across their organizations.
Navigating an increasingly complex cybersecurity landscape
Cybersecurity has always been a priority for technology leaders, but increasingly sophisticated hackers and a broad shift to remote work has introduced security concerns on a much larger scale. On a recent episode of the Technovation podcast, Lenovo CISO and Motorola Mobile Business Group CIO Jason Ruger said the pandemic has spurred a 3X increase in cyberattacks against the company. As recently as a few weeks ago, news emerged of a monthslong cyberattack that hit a number of U.S. federal agencies and some of the world’s largest businesses, prompting greater scrutiny of software supply chains as organizations race to determine the extent of the fallout.
In this piece,we will address the new cybersecurity concerns that leaders have been forced to confront as more employees work from home and the security landscape becomes more complex. We will also provide a framework that allows leaders to assess their overall cybersecurity maturity and chart a path forward.